Danny | 21 | Liverpool, England | Student
The End Of Education: A Lesson In Who You Are? (A University Blog)
Education is a tool that every person in this country is lucky enough to receive but we all end up building many different structures.
Education for me wasn't just about text books and calculations; it was about learning who I am as a person. The greatest years of my life have been in education. Primary school was like heaven. It was an innocent age where nobody was judged for being different, the children just saw other children and not colour, gender or sex. It was pure - it was fun.
From Primary School we reach High School which for some are the best years while for others they are some of the worst. It is in High School that we start to notice people's differences and it is at that tender age that most of us start to notice the opposite sex. This is the point in my life where I came to a fork it the road: do I choose to be myself at the risk of being excluded or do I pretend to be someone else and forge a different image of myself? Well, I chose the latter.
"Yes, I was popular. Yes, I had a few girls after me.
Eventually, a lot of us make it to college. I went to a brand new college where some of my friends attended but they were outnumbered by all the new people. This is the first time in education that you are responsible for yourself. It is also the first time in education that you don't have to wear uniform meaning that everyone’s personality is shown via their appearance.
This was a new place and a chance for me to be myself. I made some amazing friends at college and we started to do grown-up things; mainly going to the club where we knew under-age people could get in. For me, that is where most of my EMA was spent! As well as meeting such different people, I met one person that meant more (well I thought they did at the time).
"This person somewhat forced me to be who I really was; but was I ready? I didn't have a choice."
College was definitely the place that I needed to be my true self and once I was pushed there was no going back. Everybody knows who I am now (and a lot more have seemed to notice me!) I was relishing my true self! I grew up fast, there was a whirlwind of 'romances', obviously not all were great, but what is at that age?
Finally, I made it, I got to University! For the first time I could be my true self from the word 'go'! These people had never met me before and I was not going to base our new friendships on a lie. Well, my studies quickly took a back seat. I was 18, I'd never lived alone and there were so many clubs! Clubs where I could meet people like me, and boy did I meet some! So, whilst I was having the time of my life, things at home took a turn for the worse when the most important man in my life just couldn't handle his life anymore. On the morning my Dad was supposed to visit me, and bring my friend best too, I got one of the worst phone calls of my life. My dad was in a hospital bed, thankfully he hadn't succeeded in his attempt.
Meanwhile, there was a stranger in my bed.
I was advised not to go home. So, what did I do? I cried all day and drank all night. The people I met increased, my studies decreased. Yet I still felt lonely.
"It came to the end of my first year of study and I had more notches on my bedpost and empty bottles in my bin than credits at Uni."
I went home for the summer. My Dad was improving and I had a stark wake up call when I failed my first year. Luckily, my circumstances meant I could start all over again and re-do my first year. Another fresh start! While at home I was back and forth from Liverpool looking for somewhere new to live. I was looking with my best friends, the people that I had only met a year before but who had already supported me during the toughest of times. Another big change while I was home over summer - I met someone. Someone stable. Someone caring. Someone beautiful. Someone who saved me. Someone who made me realise I was much better than the person I had been. So I re-started Uni. Eventually I made it to my final year! Why did I make it to my final year? Because of the support network I had around me.
So what’s next for me? Well, there is the obvious of course; plan my career and find a great job. But there is something that I wasn't expecting. Throughout all my years of education the people I have met and the experiences I have had have changed me and taught me about WHO I AM! So, the next step, move in with that person who picked me back up when I was at my lowest. But that’s not all.
"A few weeks ago I proposed to that person so one of my other next steps? I’m going to marry the man that taught me to love myself."
Follow Danny on Twitter - @DannyBeckwith